Last post before the big reveal tomorrow! (Which, no, is not a beta / demo :P)
Just a warning, this post might be a bit out of my specialty, and I hate listening to celebrities force their misguided and uninformed political sway as much as the next guy, but since getting into the games business, I’ve begun to keep an eye more and more on things like psychological studies on video game violence, and my ears perk up when politicians run their mouths off about censorship or any other attempts at controlling the markets out there.
So before I really get to it, if this is your first time on the site, you might want to check out the rest of the site, especially the last few posts in my 7 posts in 7 (business) days stunt. Also, I wouldn’t recommend this post for the younger viewers of the site, nothing obscene, but the content is fairly mature.
So, today is April 15th, the dreaded Tax Day here in the USA, and with new mass amounts of government spending come new groups of angry Americans, watching the government pour money for reasons that they either consider to be bad policy, or that they’re straight up morally opposed to.
Now, like I said before, up until recently, the most I kept up with politics was whenever someone said something stupid about violent video games being out there. We’re getting a lot of it nowadays with the Wii, ‘it’s a family friendly system, so why should MadWorld be allowed on the system?’ Under that logic, parents should be screaming in horror whenever a new Disney Princess movie comes out on DVD.
The point is, when watching the dynamic between the video game industry and various special interests groups, the industry wants to make the sorts of games that they would want to play (they should be, at least), and the outside world refuses to believe that any person of the appropriate age would possibly want to play GTA or Halo or MadWorld etc. Obviously the only people out there who are trying to buy these video games are children lacking any sort of personal responsibility, so why are these games even being produced?
Nowadays, sadly, the ‘next big thing’ seems to be moving away from any sort of personal responsibility. Let the federal government take care of censorship, since parents have no sort of personal responsibility (not like games are clearly rated for the parents to see or anything, right?). Let the government take over the banks, the auto industry (though admittedly that’s a bit of a different situation, the video game industry isn’t being regulated to death, not yet, anyway).
So for awhile there, I watched various politicians tell gamers and parents that they had no sense of personal responsibility, and that alone severely angers me as a developer. But now we’re seeing the current administration’s goal of practically abolishing personal responsibility of any kind. The biggest example of this is Freedom of Choice Act, which, of all things, attempts to take out any sort of parental influence from a girl’s decision to abort or not. A breaking down of the family unit and undermining personal responsibility in one swoop. Nice. Not to mention the more recent push for the US to adopt the U.N. ‘Children’s Rights’ treaty, just one more excuse for the government to stick it’s nose where it doesn’t belong (except for, of course, in extreme circumstances).
But I digress, there’s very little I hate more in this world than special interest groups using tragedy to promote their agenda. Jack Thompson being the worst video game related offender, only it’s quite obvious that the only interest he looks out for is his own, constantly trying to shove himself in the limelight, and profiting heavily by masquerading as the voice of the families of the victims of tragedy. Not to mention that his entire case is based on the correlation that crazy people are drawn to violent games, not that violent video games create crazy people. Plus, some of his asserted correlations were later proven to not even be accurate.
Going off the video games path again, Jenna showed me this article lately, about a child hanging himself because he had been bullied to such a degree. Absolutely a terrible thing, but really gets to me is that the fact that the ‘anti-gay’ wording is what gets the headline. I have to point out here, I have nothing against people being gay, and there’s no way to excuse bullying of any sort, anti-gay, anti-heterosexual, whatever. The kid was 11, he was too young for any sort of sexual preference! That they even brought up another child who did openly identify himself as homosexual is appalling. This is not a story about gays being bullied in school! Kids get bullied, period. If the kid did not associate himself as gay, why is this tragedy being used to draw out sympathy for gays? Not saying that there’s anything wrong with declaring that gays shouldn’t be picked or anything, but this is the wrong article to do that in. Since when did a bully need a reason pick a kid? Are ‘your mother’s so fat’ jokes made only by bullies who have precise knowledge about what their victims’ moms’ weight is?
But why bother, right? News is news. I guess we should all go pick on video games without ever having played them. Or censoring them, because only psychopaths would ever want to shoot enemies, right? No wonder we got news articles online crying about some pirates getting shot.